Proposed Georgia Law Meant to Keep Left Traffic Lane Clear and Cut Down on Car Accidents

Georgia may soon be the next state to enforce what others have already dubbed the “slow-poke” law. House Bill 459, introduced by Rep. Bill Hitchens, R-Rincon, was created to outlaw driving in the fast lane on Georgia’s congested highways unless attempting to overtake and pass another vehicle. Intended to keep “slow pokes” from meandering and languishing in the left lane and impeding faster-moving motorists, the measure would take effect “only if another car is trying to get by.”

An article in the Atlanta Journal-Constitution makes the parameters of the bill even clearer. Quotes the article, “Hitchens, a former head of the state Department of Public Safety, wants to make it illegal, essentially, to drive in the left lane on all controlled access highways at all, except”:

–When no other vehicle is directly behind the vehicle in the left lane.
–When traffic make it impractical to drive in the right lane.
–When weather conditions make it necessary to drive in the left lane.
–When obstructions or hazards exist in the right lane.
–When a vehicle changes lanes to comply with other laws.
–When exiting on the left.
–To pay tolls or use a toll pass.
–When driving in the left lane comply with traffic control

The proposal comes on the tail of other states (like Arizona) that have successfully passed similar measures. The increasingly popular law also coincides with the Uniform Vehicle Code. According to the Code (which is utilized by most states), regardless of the speed limits, motorists are required to keep right if they are driving slower than the normal speed of traffic. Bill 459 would take the Code one step further by allowing drivers to use the left lane only for passing or turning left.

It’s well and widely known that driving too fast is a violation of the law, warranting action by law officials. However, it may come as a surprise that slow drivers who fail to abide by the law could also face stiff penalties and fines. With the advent of the new measure, slow drivers would ostensibly become targets for ticketing. In other words, the bill is one way to give sluggish vehicles a polite (yet unyielding) nudge.

While the prospect of the law’s impending passage may incense quite a few Georgia residents, car accident attorneys can see the logic behind the move. The type of driver one is directly affects the flow of traffic. High speeders, distracted drivers and slow motorists, for example, all increase the likelihood of automobile accidents and personal injury.

Fast and overconfident drivers tend to overestimate their driving abilities, for example. This means they take more unnecessary risks when navigating the roads. More specifically, they engage in high-risk behaviors like pulling out in front of people, tailgating, and running red lights. Distracted drivers are guilty of similar offenses, but for different reasons. Even more dangerous is the fact that any motorist may become a distracted driver at any time – a crying baby, a phone call, a text message, a spilled drink or even loose paraphernalia underfoot each have the potential to become a car accident-inducing distraction.

Personal injury lawyers with experience handling car crashes can easily foresee how slow drivers can be a hazard as well. By interrupting the steady flow of traffic, they force drivers who are moving along at a faster pace to take potentially perilous evasive maneuvers. Moreover, they often cause a driver trailing behind them to become increasingly frustrated, which results in split second decisions that would otherwise never be considered – getting over without first checking mirrors or using blinkers, for instance.

Even if the measure doesn’t pass muster, slower drivers and speeders alike would be well-advised to make cautionary driving a practice now, even if only for safety reasons. Both extremes can cause fatalities and impede the natural flow of traffic. “Slowpokes” should be just as mindful as other drivers, suggests Hitchens. “I always say it’s the manners your momma should have taught you; if someone pulls up behind you, you move to the right and let them by.” (Quote Source:

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